Influenza has struck the nation hard this year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports a widespread outbreak throughout Pennsylvania. Everyone six months and older should receive a flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease. An annual vaccination is needed because flu viruses are always changing so new vaccine is produced each year to protect against the currently circulating influenza viruses
"Influenza is a serious disease that kills thousands of people each year," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "Influenza season is upon us and vaccination is the single most important step someone can take to protect themselves. I received my vaccine and I want to encourage anyone who has not gotten vaccinated to go out and get one – it could mean the difference between health and sickness, life and death."
“Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now,” said Dr. Joe Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division.
Breese also recommends that people who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms. Diabetics fall into the high risk category.
In response to the nationwide flu epidemic and customer demand, Rite Aid Corporation has announced that it has obtained more than 400,000 additional seasonal flu shots, which began arriving in stores earlier this week. Flu shots are being delivered to areas of need based on actual or anticipated flu outbreak activity. Flu shots will be administered by Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacists subject to state regulations, during all pharmacy hours, with no appointment necessary.
People interested in receiving a flu shot are encouraged to call their local Rite Aid pharmacy for availability. To locate the nearest Rite Aid pharmacy, visit www.riteaid.com or call 1-800-RITE-AID. Flu shots are $29.99 each and are covered by many insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. To date, Rite Aid pharmacists have administered more than 2 million flu shots, and will continue to do so while supplies are available.
“Rite Aid pharmacists play an important role in the fight against the flu every year and that’s especially true in tough seasons like this one. We are committed to helping our customers and communities fight the flu, which is why we’re bringing in additional flu shots this week and encouraging anyone who hasn’t received a flu shot yet to do so as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this year’s flu,” said Robert Thompson, Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Pharmacy.
Flu vaccines are also available at Walgreens pharmacies and CVS/pharmacies.
"CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants are available every day at all of our locations to help patients on their path to better health with a flu vaccination," said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs at CVS/pharmacy.
Pharmacists at all three pharmacies are available to counsel customers on over-the-counter medicines, like pain relievers, decongestants and cough medicine that can be used to help manage symptoms associated with the flu virus. While at the pharmacy, one could also stock up on hand sanitizer and soaps, masks, gloves, tissues and household disinfectants to help prevent the spread of the flu.
This article was taken in part from press releases by Rite Aid, CVS and the CDC. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your physician. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of influenza, make an appointment with your physician.
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